Super Effective Time Management Tricks For Goal Getting Moms

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Being a work at home mom is tough. Especially if you have very young children at home. You know, the ones that need every second of your attention every second of the day and start asking for snacks the moment you sit down to get work done. You’re overwhelmed, can’t seem to finish anything, and you can’t figure out how other people manage to raise a family and have a successful side gig. Trying to be the best mom possible and working your tail off at the same time is a delicate balance.

It is very important to me, and I believe it is very important to you as well if you are reading this, to have an identity away from being a mom. For me, that is the whole reason I started this blog. It is the whole reason I am driven to work at this every single day, even if my day has been hectic and crazy and the only thing I really want to do is go to bed and sleep. My desire to be “me” and not just a “mom” overpowers my need for sleep (most times!). I love my children, but I also need my own goals to strive towards and be passionate about. I bet you feel this way too.

Chances are, you have already tried to figure out a schedule that works for you. Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t. Hopefully you have already read my post on Time Blocking and found that an effective way to plan your day.

Time blocking is an incredible way to stay focused and get through more work in less time. It helps you zone in on exactly what needs to be done and helps get rid of distractions. You don’t spend your time trying to balance work and your family. Work and your family are separate. You don’t take away from your time spent trying to be a mom boss, and you don’t take away from your kids by trying to fit in random bits of work when they’re wanting your attention.

So, this time blocking method is great for your daily schedule, but where it really shines is when you can use this method to help run your business and your home.

How To Stay Organized As A Goal Getting Mom

Get Strategic

The very first thing you should do is make sure that you do in fact know what needs to be done when you sit down to work. You can check out my Productivity Plan to help work through and identify your goals. Let’s face it, you are working with limited time, so you need to be more organized than most entrepreneurs. As parents, we don’t have the luxury of uninterrupted working time. We are on call every second of the day and working within the hours that most people are relaxing. You can’t do it all if you don’t know what you’re doing! Set aside a day to create a strategic plan for what you need to get done. Identify main goals and weekly goals. Plan one month at a time if 12 weeks seems overwhelming, but I am a huge believer in planning quarterly.

Second is making your weekly schedule for getting work done. List out the various types of tasks that you have to complete, and choose how they fit into your calendar. But you’re only going to focus on one topic per day. This is known as batch planning. It helps to have two entirely different schedules – one for your work and one for your home.

Get Themed Obsessed

For your work plan, assign each day a theme. If you’re a blogger, take one day to pound out the writing and editing of posts. Take another day for image creation. Yet another day for curating content for social media. The list goes on according to how many days you are working a week and how many things you are focusing on. My first thought when I discovered this method was that it seemed a little counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t you finish your entire blog post, image and all on the same day? Well, I could spend hours pouring over the tiny details of each post and in the end not getting a whole lot done. If I can focus just on content creation, I get in a groove and when I go to sit down for my images, I have a bunch of posts already almost done! It really speeds up the process.

In my home life, I think what I have struggled the most with is being able to do it all – making sure lunches are packed, laundry is done, the house is clean, everyone is fed and bathed and dressed, and also working my butt off at trying to be a success. The method that has worked the best for me is having a strategic plan for the house. The goal isn’t to have a spotless house. The goal is to make sure that it is orderly enough that it doesn’t take time away from working.

I recently read How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana White. I really, truly feel like this lady spoke to my naturally messy soul in this book! Dana is funny, ladies. She’s a recovering slob who has it all figured out. She speaks about having a “day” for household tasks instead of trying to do a little bit of everything. She suggests tackling all of the laundry on one day because it is more like a project that has a beginning and end, and once it’s done, it’s done. I can truly credit this entire philosophy with changing the way I manage my home, family, and life in general.

Whether or not you pick up Dana’s book, I do highly suggest you come up with some kind of household management schedule. You are less likely to be distracted during your dedicated working hours if you are sitting down in a semi-clean house. Get all those messy, cluttered procrastination strategies out of the way so that when you are read to work, you are 100% game on!

Family First

Finally, make sure you are working these plans around your family. Family always comes first, and all of this planning and hustling you are doing is ultimately to benefit your family. If Mom is happy and content in her life, then the entire family benefits. A manageable work/life balance is essential. Too much work and you will burn out too quickly, causing stress and negativity within your family unit. Not enough time spent with your family will cause them to crave time with you even more. My trick is to never try to multi-task my family life. I don’t overlap my work with my time with my kids. I’m a single focus kind of gal, and it seems to be working for me.

On that note, I’m off for a much needed coffee date. What are you doing for your family today?

 

The Evening Routine To Get Your Life Together – Fast!

Evening Routine

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If there has been one habit that has really helped me pull my life together, it has been an evening routine. Most people credit their morning routines as their life altering holy grail. Really, for me, it has been establishing set routines and habits in the evening to prepare for the next day.

And really, what better time to start an evening routine than Fall? Imagine this: you come home on a chilly day, plant yourself on the couch with a blanket, a glass of wine/cup of tea, a fireplace (I hope you all share my excessive enthusiasm about fireplaces. And tea.) and all of the things you need to make your life great? Is there any better place to be curled up with a book, listening or a podcast or planning your week? No? Right. Didn’t think so.

The evening routine is critical because it is really the preparation and building block of your next day. You already can’t do anything to change what has happened today, but you can certainly pick yourself up and make sure that tomorrow is great.

So what should you include in your evening routine?

Prep for the next day

This is really the absolute most important thing to include, and it needs to be done before you start sipping back that glass of wine we talked about earlier. Everything else that you choose to do is totally optional except this. If you don’t prepare for the next day, you are going to be running late, life is going to be chaotic, and you’re going to end up on this downward spiral that is going to ruin your mindset for the whole day. You can’t meet goals like that.

First off, prepare your food for the day. Whether you have to leave the house early to head out to work or you know you’re going to be home looking after kids all day, prepare your food. Decide what you’re going to have for each meal and do what you can to prepare. This is going to be key to having a productive day. You’re going to make sure you have a great breakfast that is going to help fuel you through the day. Your lunch is going to be balanced and you’re going to be super pumped that you made good choices, which will then spill into other areas of your life. Once dinner time comes, there is no stress! Defrost something if necessary, prep vegetables to go in a slow cooker in the morning, make sure your lunch is packed…I know you have this all figured out, and your day is going to be so much better for it.

Figure out your clothing situation. Pick out your clothes for the next day, and everyone else’s too if you have any little humans that are dependent on you. The time to look for socks is not 5 minutes before you leave the door, only to find they’re all wet in the washer because you forgot to switch clothes over to the dryer (can you tell I’ve been here before?). Choose your clothes, lay it out, make sure everything is clean.

If you’re someone who heads to the gym, where is your stuff? Do you have your bag packed? No? Well, you probably aren’t going to end up going. Go pack your bag and put it somewhere you know you won’t forget it.

Next: Where are your keys? Where is your purse? Where is your wallet? These are the things that are going to slow you down in the morning. Make sure you know where this stuff is!

Also, clean. Tidy up whatever you can. There is a purpose behind this: if you come out of your bedroom tomorrow morning and everything is a mess, how is that going to make you feel? For me, there is literally nothing worse than coming down the steps and seeing undone dishes or crap lying around the house. It’ll take you just a few minutes, do it now.

Plan for the next day

Alright, you made it through the basics. Time to settle in with your blankets and drinks. Break out the planner and the pretty pens. I use my Day Designer because it gives me the ultimate control over my day. I can choose my top tasks for the day, form a to-do list, menu plan and write out a daily schedule, hour by hour. It is so easy to time block in the Day Designer. I love it, you guys.

Spend some time figuring out exactly what needs to be done tomorrow. Write in the things that are absolutely necessary to be done, and write in the things that are non-negotiable for you to have a good day tomorrow. For me, I need to make sure that I plan in time for blogging and making this place awesome for you guys. Whatever your goals are, make a top three and write them down. Hold yourself accountable.

Personal Development

I find that reading books that motivate me towards meeting my goals are good to throw in here. I don’t often have time to read or listen to podcasts throughout the day, so this is prime time for some personal development. You don’t have to put limits on this. If you want to read 10 pages, read ten pages. If you have an hour to spare, go for it. This is a great time of day to invest in yourself and your well being.

Get In Your Head

I won’t say meditate, because I know that the idea of meditation turns some people off. I will say, though, that it is super important to take some time by yourself to think. You need to set goals and you need to figure out plans. You need to process what has happened to you during the day. You need to tell off the people that you never told off during the day (Anyone else do this? No? Just me, then.) So whatever you want to call it, take that time to get all those thoughts out of your head so that they aren’t running into tomorrow. Those thoughts need to stay on this day.

Do Something Fun

Do something that you enjoy. This is your time for self-care. This is the time of the day that is set aside specifically for you. You’ve done a lot for other people during the day and now is the time to give back to you. Watch some Netflix, scroll through Instagram, spend time with your partner.

So there you have it, an evening routine. It may take a while to figure out what works for you, but I can promise that it will work for you. My life became exponentially better when I implemented just these few things every single night.

How To Be Ultra Productive – Time Blocking

productive

 

For a very long time, I was really, really bad at being productive. I mean, horrible. The most terrible.

I could never be consistent. No matter how much I wanted to get stuff done and improve my life, no matter how many planners I used or how many goals I set for myself, I continued to fail at it. For a long time, I could never figure this out. People around me were doing kick ass things, crushing goals, creating businesses, working their dream jobs. I felt no matter how hard I tried, I could never get out of the hole I was digging for myself. I couldn’t even manage to make it until lunch time on day one without going off track.

That was until I discovered time blocking. This is hands down the most important method for keeping me ahead of the game. Life doesn’t tell me what to do anymore. I go to bed at night knowing that I made progress towards the person I want to be. I don’t go to bed anymore beating myself up because I let myself down. Again.

How do you time block, you ask?

You literally block off your time. Complicated, I know.

Multi-tasking has been my demise. We’ve all been there. You sit down to do something productive, and then you notice that your desk needs to be cleared off. In the process of clearing your desk, you bring things to the kitchen and realize the dishwasher needs to be loaded. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you are using the time that you should be getting shit done, to finish other things that weren’t on your to-do list for that day. What did you get accomplished? A little bit of everything, but a whole lot of nothing. Your house is probably still half messy and you didn’t get the work done that you set out to do. Awesome.

Time blocking eliminates this. There is a time allotted for everything so that you can focus on one task at a time and fully complete the task.

productive

 

In order to time block efficiently, I get a weekly calendar.

First, I write in things that absolutely have to be done, and I block time for them. So for example, I know that in order to be productive, I need to keep my space at a manageable level so I don’t lose my mind. So the first thing I do is write in cleaning. I do this when my kids are eating breakfast. Throw in a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, do any meal prep that needs to be done (hello slow cooker!) and generally start our day off strong.

Second, I absolutely know that there is no time during the day that I am going to be able to work on this blog. At all. It will not happen. So I put that first thing in the morning before the kids get up. I put my most thinking intensive tasks first thing in the morning (like writing posts) so that I’m not trying to do it when I’m exhausted at the end of the night.

Next, I know I want to dedicate my day to actually spending time with my kids. They have been known to go a little wild if I’m trying to do one hundred things at once. Life is better when I can focus all of my energy directly on them. This is why I put cleaning first. I know if I don’t get it done in the morning, I’m going to be trying to do bits and pieces of it and our whole day is going to be chaos.

Finally, I put in work again in the evening. Everyone is gone to bed, hopefully we’ve had a good day, and I can get a few more hours work in before bed. Normally I do things like schedule social media and edit images at this time.

I have also blocked off a night time routine because I feel this is my self care time and is absolutely necessary for good mental health. I schedule this because I don’t want to skip it.

All in all, this seems like a very simple concept. Maybe this is nothing new to you. I just know that time blocking eliminates the multitasking and I actually get things done start to finish. I can check things off my to-do list left, right and center. Nothing feels better than going to bed knowing you kept a promise to yourself!

I actually go further than this.

I actually time block my days and solid weeks for different tasks. I will share that with you in a future post!

Do you time block? Have you noticed a difference in your productivity?

 

 

 

30 Things To Do This Month – Productivity Challenge!

productivity

 

I don’t know about you, but autumn is my happy place.

I’m not talking about the mass amount of pumpkin everything. Fall to me is the sight of fresh calendars to plan on and the feeling of making those first marks in a fresh notebook. Fall is equal to new opportunities in my books! Can you tell that I’ve spent way too many years of my life in school?

Autumn is kind of like a “second New Year” for me. The year is winding down, I had goals and plans that I needed to accomplish, and it’s a great time to check-in with myself to reshape how the rest of the year is going to go.

From September 1st to December 31st you have 121 days to get yourself together and hit all of the goals that you were talking about way back in January.

Realistically, your entire life could change in 121 days. If you started something now, just imagine how successful you could be by December 31st. What do you wish you had started 121 days ago? Your own business? A habit? Think about how much you could have accomplished if you had just started when you said you were going to.

You have just spent all summer most likely vacationing, not eating properly, perhaps sleeping in, off your normal routine. September is coming and it’s your chance to redeem yourself in your own eyes. Could there be any better feeling than ringing in the New Year, knowing that you just spent four solid months rocking at life?

I’ve created a 30 day challenge for you to do just that. Each day has a very simple task to complete that will help you get through fall like a badass. The key is to ensure that you’re implementing what you intend to do!

Sign-up here to download your 30 Things To Do This Month Productivity Challenge Calendar!

 

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Productivity Rut – How To Pull Yourself Out

 

I have spent the past few weeks in a bit of a whirlwind. Nothing was really going as planned, things kept randomly popping up, children were being challenging and I kept making to-do lists that weren’t getting checked off. Every time I made a list and things didn’t get done, I became more and more anxious. I constantly had inner dialogue running on a loop in my brain that sounded something like “You still need to write that blog post but you still haven’t managed to clear off the kitchen sink and get lunch yet”. I was constantly beating myself up over the things that I wasn’t being successful with. The more I did this, the more I wasn’t getting accomplished. My I lost more and more motivation as my days went on.

It is so easy to get sucked into the pattern of not initiating a task because you haven’t finished another one. It is even easier to get pulled into a pattern of negative self talk. We have been mentally conditioned that we need to be so busy and so successful. When I’m not functioning on the level I want to be, when I’m not efficient and rocking life, my natural thought pattern immediately turns to giving myself a hard time. Once you get to this point, it is hard to pull yourself out of it. It seems like nothing you do is enough, you feel like a bit of a loser and you begin to think that you will be like this forever. This is what we call a “rut”.

Finally, after almost three weeks of not being efficient, I decided to put my foot down with myself. I managed to pull myself together and get things done by doing 5 simple things.

1. Refresh your brain

In order to move past my vortex of inefficiency and negativity, I had to start from scratch. I looked through all of the missed “to-do” lists, crossed off the things that didn’t matter anymore. I prioritized what was left and added some new items that were important to me. I had been stewing and procrastinating over a blog post that I had set in my planner. For some reason I couldn’t make myself write it (another time, friends!). Instead, I’m here writing this one, which is flowing quite easily. Instead of focusing on the exact thing that needed to be done, the main goal was to just be productive and be successful at something to get myself started and boost my motivation. The important thing was I needed to write a blog post. I chose a different topic, but here I am. Success.

2. Take a break

Another thing I did to get on with my life was to take a small break. I went out to lunch with my sister and best friend in a fancy restaurant that we probably would have reserved for a formal business lunch. We dressed up for no reason at all and I just enjoyed spending time away from all of the things I wasn’t getting done at home. Some may call this procrastination. I call this rejuvenation. I spent all of 1.5 hours away from reminders of how much I wasn’t getting done and felt like a new person because of it.

3. Make a new plan

A lot of the reason I have been struggling lately is because my normal routine has been chaos due to summer (who said this was the best season, anyway? Not me). There are lots of more fun things to be doing and barbecues to be attending than usual. I’m a creature of habit and I thrive best in a very structured environment. I had to sit down, figure out why things weren’t working, and then make a new plan to adjust to what needs to be done. I do have young children, so part of that was restructuring meal times and bed times in order to still accommodate the things that I need to do to feel fulfilled as a person outside of being a mother.

4. Dig in

There is no sense in refreshing and planning if you don’t just pull yourself together and do what needs to be done. I had to schedule a time where I was able to spend a few solid hours doing what I needed to do. Some of it was work, but some of it was personal tasks that I needed just in order to feel good about where I am in life right now. It’s hard to carve that time out when you have been away from it, but time spent being successful will motivate you towards continued success.

5. Improve your inner dialogue

When I think back over the past few weeks, I now realize how horrible I was to myself. If anyone had said these things to me, I would be so offended. I had no problem reeling it off in my brain, though. This may be the most important step – changing my self talk is what really pulled me out of the inefficiency rut I was stuck in. I went from “Why are you not able to get things done? Why are you the only person who can’t manage to keep it together?” to “You’ve got this, it’s only one blog post. It’s only one load of laundry. It’s only one bill payment. You can do this, you’re an intelligent, capable person”. Realistically, none of the things that were holding me back these past few weeks were really in my control (Okay, so I may have watched more than one episode of Big Brother when I should have been getting stuff done). I didn’t need to be so hard on myself. Once you get into that train of thought, it is exceptionally hard to get out of it. So for you reading this- stop it, right now!

What is your best method for pulling yourself out of a rut?

Why You Need A Real Planner (And How To Use It)

 

Using a planner to organize your day is the key to success. You’d be amazed at how many extra hours are in the day if you make a plan and stick to it. I used to feel like there was never enough time to do what needed to be done during the day. I could never figure out how everyone else managed to do so much when I was struggling with basic day-to-day life things. Enter into my life:

A planner.

Try as I might, setting reminders on my phone wasn’t working for me. I tried so many online ways to organize my time and none of them ever helped me get any further ahead. I really needed the whole package deal that comes with a physical planner. Opening it up, smelling fresh paper, writing on crisp pages with new pens…okay, okay. So I’m a bit of a nerd about this stuff.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a thousand planner stickers to make it creative and colourful. You just need a calendar, day planner and something to write with.

Choose your planner

Before all else, make sure you have a planner that you are actually going to use. There are different options. You can buy daily planners or weekly planners. There are vertical layouts and horizontal layouts. Choose what works for you. There is nothing that is going to become more un-used than a planner that doesn’t actually work for your life.

Do you want to schedule your day hour by hour? Go with a daily planner. More casual about your time? A weekly is probably for you.

Like breaking your days into chunks or categories? I would stick with a vertical planner. If you’re okay with writing a to-do list but are flexible with your time, I suggest a horizontal.

I have used weekly planners and they have helped me ease into being more productive. I started out with Me and My BIG Ideas Hello Life Planner.I loved this planner dearly and it was really what sold me on using a planner. It is so colourful and provides tons of space to plan every aspect of your day.

I’ve felt the need this year to move into a daily planner for ultimate control over my day. This year I’ve been using the Day Designer. I love this one because it really breaks down your whole day, including your goals, meals and your top tasks for the day. It also comes in gorgeous prints to fit your mood or vibe for the year. I have used several different planners over the past few years but I feel like I have settled here and will continue to use this planner next year as well.

Get Supplies

Some people go all out with this. There is actually a planning “culture” as it turns out. One quick search on Youtube for “Plan with me” videos or a quick look up of #planning on Instagram will show you how in depth some of this is. While I love decorated planners, I find it best to just stick to a few different colour pens. I started decorating my planner and then I found that I spent more time trying to make it look nice than actually planning anything. This is totally up to you. Go wild! Just make sure you really get planning done.

Plan Your Life

The first thing I do when I sit down with my planner is have a glance at my monthly calendar. Any important appointments or events are then filled into my daily calendar.

Next, I write in things I consider to be non-negotiable. These are things that I have decided I need to do every day no matter what. For me this is make time for my blog, a power hour of cleaning, and exercise.

Prioritize your tasks for the day. Fit them in when you are most productive. If you function better in the morning, put more of your brain strain earlier in the day. If you’re a night owl, put your easier work in the morning as you sip your coffee.

I like to use different colours for different life categories in my planner. Pick colours you like and assign them for work, personal, family, friends, etc.

What To Include:

Include your morning routine, right from the moment you wake up. Even go so far as writing “wake up/breakfast/shower” in there. It’s easier to get through a list of things to do when you start off by one that you’ve already completed.

After this, fill in your most important things first and then work backwards to the least important things. If you have deadlines for projects, make sure you are including those. If you have a meeting, clearly that is going to be written in at the beginning.

Make sure you schedule self-care into your day. Most people find time to fit this in during the evening. Self care looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s an evening run, maybe it’s meditation or journaling, maybe it is binge watching Netflix for hours. It is totally unique to each individual.

Having a solid evening routine also needs to be planned. If not, it is easy for hours to slip away from you between work and bed time. Ensure that you are doing things to help you wind down.

Pick an early bed time and try to stick to it! It will help set you up for a wonderful, productive morning!

 

I’m interested – which planner do you use and how do you make it work for you? 

 

 

 

 

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